As a teen, Matthew Walzer of Parkland, Florida, looked forward to leaving home for college. But he worried he wouldn’t be able to because he couldn’t tie his shoes. Walzer has cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects his muscles. His right hand is not very flexible, so he can’t tie shoelaces without help.
In 2012, when Walzer was 16, he wrote to Nike. He asked the company to make sneakers that are more accessible, or easy to use. Nike had already been working on sneaker designs for people with disabilities. After receiving Walzer’s letter, the company invited him to test prototypes, or early models, of the shoes.
Since then, Nike has created a series of accessible sneakers. The newest version, the Nike Go FlyEase (above), can be put on and taken off hands-free!